Denyer, Zukanovic Share Round Win in Classic V8 Ute Action at Symmons Plains
A race win apiece saw Ford Falcon X8 drivers Grant Denyer and Marcus Zukanovic emerge joint winners in round one of the Kanga Loaders V8 Ute Summer Shootout at Symmons Plains circuit in Tasmania today.
Zukanovic won race one yesterday and Denyer race three today, giving both 71 points in the chase for the Dunlop Championship Trophy, which will be decided in round two at Eastern Creek near Sydney on 3-5 December.
Race two went to Dave Griffin, who headed a 1-2-3 Holden finish.
Zukanovic was in fine form all weekend, dominating practice and qualifying and lowering the utes lap record twice. He also put in extra laps in Commodore Cup races, winning twice.
Colin Dunn started race two from pole position by virtue of a reverse grid and held the lead until lap four, when Griffin came through.
Paul Leaver held third place throughout the race to record his best result in ute racing.
Race three saw classic ute action involving Denyer, Zukanovic and former NASCAR champion Kim Jane, in a Holden SS.
Zukanovic led from pole. Jane followed, but almost immediately fell victim to Denyer when he missed a gear in the run to the hairpin.
Denyer immediately attacked Zukanovic and surged past on lap three when the leader ran wide at the kink on the back straight.
For the next 11 laps, the Ford pair battled nose to tail, with Jane closing steadily and all three breaking the lap record.
Then Zukanovic made another small mistake on the second-last lap, running wide at turn one and allowing Jane into second place for the run to the finish.
"That was fantastic -- ute racing at its best," Denyer said. "Going by the close racing all through this weekend, the last round at Eastern Creek should be a cracker."
Back in the field, Queenslander Matt O'Grady recorded one of the best performances of the day. O'Grady started his Holden from last in race two and finished 13th and then progressed to seventh in race three.
But race two winner Griffin had one of the oddest back luck stories. His crew could not start the Holden for race three and discovered later that the engine computer's inbuilt immobiliser -- intended to prevent theft -- had self-activated.
Race 2 of 3 (12 laps) 1. Dave Griffin (NSW) Holden SS 2. Kim Jane (Vic.) Holden 3. Paul Leaver (Qld) Holden 4. Marcus Zukanovic (Vic.) Ford Falcon XR8 5. Grant Denyer (NSW) Ford 6. Luke May (NSW) Ford 7. Damien White (NSW) Holden 8. Colin Dunn (NSW) Ford 9. Matthew O'Grady (Qld) Holden 10. Raj Sharma (NSW) Ford
Fastest lap -- Zukanovic 1 min. 05.8862 sec. (record)
Race 3 of 3 (15 laps) 1. Grant Denyer 2. Kim Jane 3. Marcus Zukanovic 4. Luke May 5. Damien White 6. Paul Leaver 7. Matt O'Grady 8. Benn Wilson (Qld) Holden SS 9. Colin Dunn 10. Darren McDonald (Vic.) Holden
Fastest lap -- Zukanovic 1 min. 05.6512 sec. (record)
Dunlop Championship Trophy, Pointscore (after round 1 of 2) 1. Marcus Zukanovic 71 1. Grant Denyer 71 2. Kim Jane 68 3. Luke May 52
Television Trackside (Network Ten), Sunday 21 November (check local guides for times)
Next round 3-5 December, Eastern Creek, NSW